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Mohican cut for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after impressive win on debut

First Mohican put himself firmly in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle picture when winning the eventmasters.co.uk Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster.

He was cut to 16/1 (from 25s) with Coral after putting in an excellent round of jumping on his debut over the obstacles before beating Huff And Puff by 3/4 of a length.

However he will have to overcome a couple of telling stats if he is to triumph in his Festival target.

The gelding was a smart sort of the level when trained by Lady Cecil, but ex flat horses do not have a good record in the Supreme in recent times.

In the last six runnings of the race, only Binocular has finished in the frame.

It is a trend which may well be down to the fact the officials now have a policy to ensure good ­to ­soft ground on the opening day of the meeting, as prior to 2008 former flat performers had won seven out of 11 runnings.

The emphasis is now clearly more on stamina, and First Mohican will find the undulations and stiff uphill finish of Prestbury Park a different kettle of fish to Doncaster’s flat galloping track.

The other stat that is against him is that seven of the last nine winners had raced three times or more over obstacles.

Alan King is planning to run him in the Dovecote Hurdle at Kempton on February 22nd, and that means he will head into the contest with the limited experience of just two runs under his belt.

However if he is successful at Kempton he will meet a vital criteria, as 15 out of the last 17 winners of the Supreme had triumphed on their final outing.

One thing for certain is that he is a classy recruit to the hurdling ranks, and his trainer was delighted with his initial success at Doncaster.

He said: “I’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t won, it looked a good race on paper but he’s very smart.

“He was a bit fresh and was jumped into at one stage which made him keen. He got there too soon and we can improve on fitness. For a novice first time out that was as good a round of jumping as you could get.

“He’ll go to the Dovecote now that has always been the plan. I’d love to get another run into him as I imagine he’ll take it all very well.”